Each April Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1 honors its many volunteers. While the names of each school’s honorees won’t be compiled until later in the month, below is a recap of the district’s volunteer program.
Each month the names of half a dozen volunteers are posted on school district reader boards. Some of the names posted recently included Celeste Johnston, Charles Klein, Cindy Miron- Enold, Annette Zweig-Donham, and Pat Firestone.
Hundreds of volunteers play a large role in the success of its students’ lives. This past February, District Volunteer Coordinator Patti Field recorded 1,973 hours.
Several years ago a newspaper article reported that one out of every six residents in the Town of Steilacoom volunteered in one way or another, including in the school district, giving the area a reputation of being an incomparable volunteering community, one of few like it in the state. SHSD’s volunteer program began in 1989. Sixty-three people volunteered to help in the schools. Eighteen years later there are between 900-1,000 community volunteers, which works out to approximately one volunteer per every three students, according to Field.
So far this year, Field continues, volunteers have logged in more than 16,675 hours of service, or about 2,300 hours per building between mid-August and March.
“Some buildings have as few as 25 volunteers, hence less hours, others have more than 200,” she adds. PTA/Booster Clubs in each of the district’s seven schools are made up of volunteers who raise thousands of dollars annually for their schools. In addition to these groups, Steilacoom Historical Educational Foundation, SHEF, also raises scholarship money for graduating seniors
The Chapter I/LAP programs, prominent in the primary and elementary schools, rely heavily on a core of volunteers. They’re mostly senior citizens, who tutor students in reading. Many of the district’s cadre of volunteers are older than 60 years. Some of these volunteers, Field says, “continue serving long after their students graduate. Several have volunteered for more than 20 years. Sandy Eggebrotten is one of those long-serving volunteers.
Having had four children in the district at one time, Sandy, who’s been honored as Volunteer of the Month and of the Year during the time she has served, has volunteered at all the mainland Steilacoom schools, volunteering at each of the 4 buildings throughout the week. Twenty years’ service to the district has provided her with many memories, and while it’s difficult to single out just one, she recalls the reaction of one high school student when she called him by name. How did she know him, he asked? Sandy laughed as she told him that she remembered him from a grade school field trip she’d chaperoned.
“Sandy has done almost every job, including serving as PTA/Booster Club president in more than one building, as fundraising chair, newsletter editor for several schools, Chap I/LAP tutor, concessions and ticket sales, and much more,” Field says.
Chaperoning field trips are just one of the many volunteer opportunities available. They can also chaperone dances, tutor, help with blood drives, popcorn sales, health screenings, fundraising, sports, concerts, book fairs, newsletter production, as well as helping staff concession stands during sporting events and selling tickets at school events. SHSD’s volunteers assist in school offices, and with art, drama, and music activities. They may serve as classroom speakers or as judges for events such as the recent high school science fair. Volunteers orchestrate and produce fundraisers such as carnivals, bazaars, bingo nights, craft fairs, family nights, sleepy reads, harvest festivals, even sock hops.
Some other examples: In the past, a volunteer developed a spreadsheet to track WASL scores and fundraiser profits from year to year in one building. Another volunteer researched, bought supplies for, and sewed security vests (donating 30 hours of labor) for members of the Parent Patrol who serve at high school sporting events.
In addition to the volunteers, Field continues, “We have just under 100 local businesses as well as the military partners that donate supplies, grant money, matching fund money and people.
Some companies such as State Farm and Intel “loan” employees for school programs. Soldiers from the 42nd MP Brigade have helped with the Reading Rockets at Chloe Clark Elementary, as well as the PE program at Cherrydale and at high school track events. Most recently soldiers from the 42nd MP Brigade at Ft. Lewis also helped build a labyrinth at Cherrydale Primary School.
“The district has been very supportive of its volunteers,” says Eggebrotten. For her, as for the others, volunteering has not only enriched the students’ lives but their own as well. To view the list of this year’s volunteers, visit www.steilacoom.k12.wa.us and click on the News link.